Would you let the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration take a blood sample from you for $50? Or swab your cheek for ten bucks? What about just blowing into a breathalyzer as a freebie, if the goal is to complete a comprehensive survey to determine the number of drink- and drug-impaired drivers on the road?
Some probably would, while others would probably choose to keep their saliva, blood, and breath to themselves. But if you were in your car, ushered off of a busy road by police, and asked by a federal subcontractor for the samples in question, you might not really feel like you had a choice.
That's something that motorists in Fort Worth found themselves encountering last week, as off-duty police officers hired by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation—a subcontractor with the NHTSA—set up roadblocks to assist the company in acquiring the samples. The federal agency is spending $7.9 million on the survey, which is being conducted in 30 cities over three years. According to an NBC 5 investigation, the administration claims that "participation was '100 percent voluntary' and anonymous."